Lobizona: Undocumented. Unprotected. Unafraid.

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If you enjoy magical realism, you will love Romina Garber’s newest book Lobizona. I have seen this title around on bookstagram for a while and the cover is what really drew me in. I absolutely love the art style, but the title seemed really interesting also. I was delighted to find the naked book is just as beautiful as the sleeve!

Romina Garber | Zodiac, Beautiful book covers, Book quotes

Netgalley gifted me a free e-ARC of this title, which I am so grateful for! It allowed me to start reading it, which sucked me in after the first few pages. I got about halfway through on Kindle before deciding to buy the physical copy. For one, I wanted to support this author (I devoured her Zodiac series a few years ago!) and two, I ended up taking a lot of annotations which I wanted to keep. And I bounced back and forth between the e-book and the physical copy; the e-book is amazing for reading in bed, but the physical is better for daytime reading (and is less of a strain on my eyes, TBH.)

“We use magical realism in our daily lives too. Consider our superstitions. We are always willing magic into reality—that’s our way.”

I love that this book was stippled with Spanish aphorisms and phrases, and included an impressive amount of vocabulary in-context to help teach Spanish to non-speakers. As someone who is constantly trying to improve my Spanish, this is something I really appreciate seeing in new books. Garber does it well, allowing the reader to infer meaning from context clues without needing to use a translator. However, I can really appreciate having the translation dictionary available if I do need it, conveniently built into my e-reader. It saves a lot of time not having to click out of the book, and as a visual learner I enjoy seeing side-by-side translations because it really helps me understand spelling and pronunciation. Continue reading

How Witchcraft and Comics Inspired The Chilling Tales of Sabrina

I loved Sabrina The Teenage Witch and watched it for years! But I also love the new interpretation of the show, even though it is so completely different from the light-hearted original I once loved. The old show was very much a sitcom while the modern version is more of a drama, which is great for the spooky October vibes. But what I appreciate most about this remake is the attention to detail in regards to witchcraft. This show not only makes the occult approachable, but does it in an educational-yet-fun way. There are a ton of important topics Sabrina touches on—including gender issues, religion, and identity—but here I am going to talk about witchcraft.

Image result for sabrina comics vs graphic novelsImage result for sabrina comics vs graphic novelsThere are actually two separate Sabrina comics that have inspired two very different shows: the 90’s sitcom Sabrina the Teenage Witch was based on the Archie comics from the 1960’s, while the newer Netflix show is based on the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina graphic novels, which were first published in 2014 under the Archie Horror imprint. Continue reading

The Rules Of Magic by Alice Hoffman

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Alice Hoffman returns, 22 years later, to tell the first part of the story. The Rules Of Magic follows Franny, Jet, and Vincent Owens as they uncover the mystery of their witchy heritage, and try to break the curse that haunts their fate. This prequel to the 1995 best-seller Practical Magic is an essential prelude to the first book, providing a fundamental understanding of the family and the secrets that follow them.

In The Rules Of Magic, we are introduced to Maria Owens, the Salem witch Hoffman uses to root the family tree in witchcraft and magik. The plot opens with Franny, Jet, and their younger brother Vincent, and explains to readers why they are the way that they are. Witch-y.

“What mattered was the blood that ran through him, the same blood that flowed through Maria Owens.” (53).

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A Crown Of Wishes

Image result for a crown of wishesThe sequel to Roshani Chokshi’s debut novel The Star-Touched Queen remains equally adventurous as the first, transporting the reader to the far-away otherworldly lands of Bharata & Ujijain, Alaka and beyond, this time following Mayavati’s younger sister Gauri on her own journey of self-reflection and self-discovery. Filled with adventure, politics, friendships, sisterhood, romance, illusion, transformation, sacrifices, trials and tribulations, A Crown of Wishes weaves an otherworldly story, carried on the wings of birds with feathers of glittering gold.

In A Crown of Wishes we find Gauri, the legendary warrior princess of Bharata, exiled and imprisoned in Ujijain at her brother Skanda’s command. Scorned by her people for the lies Skanda has spread, Gauri faces execution in Ujijain. But Vikram, the cunning ‘Fox Prince’ of Ujijain, sees her potential and offers Gauri a chance at redemption. Together, they enter the Tournament of Wishes with hopes of winning a wish from The Lord of Treasures that would secure them their greatest desires. Continue reading

The Star-Touched Queen

star-touched-queenRoshani Chokshi’s debut novel The Star-Touched Queen is an adventure, taking the reader through far-away otherworldly lands on a journey of self-reflection and self-discovery. Driven to enchanted bazaars and palaces of another time, racing on horseback across barren fields and wild jungles, the story engulfs the reader, allowing readers to become one with the character Mayavati as she bites into fairy fruits of sapphires and pearls and wears a crown of stars in her hair.

Told in horoscopes and embedded in myth, this story captivates and entrances the reader, lulling them with dreamlike images of golden honeycomb archives and gem-laden palace hallways, inviting readers into a world of fantasy, fairytale, lore and beauty. Spoken in riddles, the novel itself encourages deep thinking. Reminding us that “everything is a matter of interpretation” (112) the book promotes thoughtful decision making. Urging readers to practice “a different way of seeing” (143). But reader beware: The Star-Touched Queen bears virtue and valor, but also loses herself to impulsivity and falls victim to rumor. Like any other mortal, Maya must overcome her past in order to triumph in her future. Following her trials the reader learns from her mistakes, understanding as she does the importance of logic, reasoning, and fairness. Her lover Amar helps her in (re)discovering herself, gently encouraging her strengths and challenging her weaknesses, while simultaneously doing his best to protect her from her those who might try and ruin her.

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